A well-rounded, funny popcorn superhero sequel with plenty of heart and laughs.
The sequel to 2019’s Shazam!, Shazam! Fury of the Gods continues to set itself as a lighter, more upbeat superhero adventure than the darker tone set by Zach Snyder’s now discontinued DC universe. The story continues two years after the defeat of Thaddeus Sivana, following Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his superhero foster siblings as they take on a trio of new villains set on destroying our world.
Billy Batson and his freshly superpowered foster siblings are doing their best at being superheroes. However, with each growing up and having their own personal interests along with Billy’s difficulty at reigning them all in to work as an organized group, the future of the team doesn’t look promising. It also doesn’t help that Billy is suffering serious self doubt about himself being chosen by the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) to be the champion worthy of wielding the powers and responsibilities of being Shazam (Zachary Levi).
Things only get worse when the fate of the world is threatened by the vengeful plans of the Daughters of Atlas trio – Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and Anthea (Rachel Zegler) – the “Shazamily” are forced to step up and attempt to work as a better team. Defeating the Gods will not be an easy task as the sisters are wielding the Wizard’s staff that they stole from a museum in Greece and forcefully had repaired.
With the staff, the Daughters of Atlas will have the ability to steal the powers of Shazam and his teammates, thus reducing them to mere mortals. Our transforming heroes will need to work smarter than they have in the past as well, including having Billy believe in himself, if they are to overcome their deadly new adversaries.
Like the previous film, Shazam! Fury of the Gods isn’t intended to be the dark, gritty cinematic experience setup by Zack Snyder with Man of Steel and then continued on with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Fury of the Gods is meant to be more fun and comedic and the cast do a great job of delivering that lighter tone.
While the entire cast give strong performances across the board, the one who really stands out most is the star of the show, Zachary Levi. He’is perfectly cast as a teenager transformed into the body of a superhero with powers rivaling Superman. He’s got that adolescent, comedic personality coupled with magic powers absolutely nailed and while the story makes him a little bit silly when compared to the Man of Steel, there’s no denying Levi delivers the performance this film needs to give it that fun, adventurous tone the filmmakers are going for. It’s hard to imagine anybody else in this role.
To counter the disgustingly good superhero vibe we get from Levi and his cape-wearing co-stars we’re given decent adversaries by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler. While Mirren and Liu are the trio’s main baddies neither exude the level of evil that appropriately offsets our heroes. There’s nothing wrong with their performances per say, but the charisma/menace they bring to their villainous characters falls below the charismatic bar set by Levi. I could totally imagine someone else playing their roles.
Director David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) set out to make a fun, comedic superhero film and he’s delivered exactly that. Of course, this makes it feel out of place within the DC Extended Universe with its tonal differences (not unlike Thor: Love and Thunder in the MCU), but treated as a standalone movie or simply the sequel to Shazam! while ignoring the Snyderverse makes it a perfectly fine popcorn film.
What really makes this film stand out in the DC Extended Universe is the comedy that is delivered in spades. Sure, it’s all a bit silly with a character who transforms into a godlike being by yelling “Shazam” and the chosen warrior is a kid who I wouldn’t have picked to wield such power, but that’s the charm of it. Not everyone is in the mood for a super serious logical or realistic superhero film, and those wanting something that feels like it’s lept out from the pages of a comic book and Fury of the Gods definitely feels like that.
While let down in parts with questionable CGI and miscast villains, Shazam! Fury of the Gods remains a fun, well-rounded popcorn superhero flick with plenty of heart and plenty of laughs. It’s a perfect diversion for anyone who isn’t in the mood for anything too serious and just wants to enjoy comic book spectacle that reminds you of the importance of family without that message coming from the mouth of Vin Diesel driving a muscle car.
- MPAA Rating: PG-13
- Release Date: March 13, 2023
- Distributor: Warner Bros.
Originally posted on March 27, 2023 at https://www.popzara.com/movies/movie-reviews/shazam-fury-of-the-gods-2023/